UK Wet Plate Weekend 2019

Last weekend we saw glorious sunshine for the entirety of the annual UK get together of collodion wet plate photographers. This is mostly organised via the Facebook group but is open to all. This year we saw several new faces, its great to meet old and new friends and to remember those that couldn’t be with us.

I arrived Friday just after lunch and was surprised to see several people had already arrived, set up and shooting plates!

The Big Tent made another appearance, more for shelter from the sun rather than the rain. Several more helpers this time to put it up.

We first started these weekends as small social get togethers for wet platers to get together, shoot some plates, chat about their issues and share ideas…. and maybe have a pint or two.

Jo’s new studio camera purchase was of great interest, it sounds like she got a right bargain, especially as that lens was included in the price….

Moo trying to convince Jo that she needs to store the camera in his van.

Guys Cliffe House is a great venue, with lots of interesting nooks and crannies. It seems to have had a little clean up in the past twelve months, the area around the river having been landscaped and much more accessible. I wish I’d taken some pics of that area as a comparison.

I had taken the 12×15 inch camera, as its been a while since I last used it. I can just about manage to shoot this size plate in the portable dark tent, I’m still using the Hydroponic Dp120, although it does take some fiddling about.

A 12×15 tintype of that amazing old door.

And its following glass plate negative. Iron developed, no intensification/redevelopment. There seems to be a growing interest in wet plate negatives rather than positives of late. I’ve never managed to get a decent out of camera negative without resorting to redevelopment. We’ll see how this one prints next week.

I’d taken along some Rosco blue gel filter and some 6×6 slide mounts to make some “visualising” filter, thanks to Mark Osterman for that suggestion on FB. This sort of mimics the colour reproduction of collodion, giving the user a rough idea of how a scene will look on a plate.

Andrius had a novel approach to the viewer…

… but it did take him a while to notice he’d left this plate in his silver tank for over a week.

There were a few issues with silver baths and developer with a few wetplaters. I think Kevin mentioned his Quickfish tent was over 40 degrees in temp. Not great for wet plate. And it wasn’t till I was leaving that I noticed Tony was using Gordons ice box to keep his dev cool.

Theres was this amazing tree at the edge of the property. I took just one plate of it but decided it was too far to walk each time, especially with the big 12×15 kit. I was glad to see Tony Lovell devoting a lot of time to capturing its amazing texture and shape. I hope he’ll let me post up some pics of his plates.

Okay maybe I got carried away with this tree, but it was truly amazing.

Thanks again to Ray Spence for organising the venue again, and for sorting the Pub and BBQ for the evenings. Another successful UK wet plate weekend, I think everyone had a great time. Thanks to everyone that attended and making it a worthwhile weekend.

There will be a discussion, I’m sure, of where next years weekend will take place. Please let me know if you have any thoughts. A third year at Guys Cliffe, a return to LLanthony Priory or somewhere new. Now there’s a challenge.

Edit: And a big thanks to Helen for the Welsh cakes and Bara Brith, and to Karen Gries for the Victoria Sponge cake.